Q3 WEEE data released by the Environment Agency shows that collection figures have increased to pre-pandemic Q1 levels, which is likely a result of Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) being open for all three months of the quarter.
The data shows total tonnes collected in Q3 is coming in at ever so slightly more (1,707T) than the same quarter in 2019.
However, this is unlikely to be enough to counter the impact of covid on collection levels in Q2 with all categories except medical devices (category 8) and PV panels (category 14) sitting at below the 75% of target we’d expect to see by Q3. Total WEEE collected is down 12% on levels seen at the end of 2019 Q3 - please see table and graph below.
The second national lockdown in England in November is unlikely to have the same impact on WEEE collection levels as the first lockdown with HWRCs remaining open. However, if the trend of previous years continues, Q4 collection levels are likely to be lower than Q3 levels. 2020 WEEE collection targets are, therefore, unlikely to be met (with the exception of category 14, PV panels). The figures demonstrate the reliance on local authority collection sites in WEEE recycling. The 2020 compliance fee proposals both take into account the impact of covid-19, we should know by mid-Feb at the latest to what extend upon confirmation of the chosen methodology.
EEE placed on market volumes for 2020 to date show a different story, currently sitting at 6% higher than 2019 with Q3 alone showing an increase of 22% compared to 2019. There were significant increases in the volume of SMW, which covers the likes of IT equipment, toys, small household appliances and tools, and display equipment (category 11) placed on the market in Q3 – a 21% and 37% increase respectively. It will be interesting to see if/ how this bumper year of EEE placed on market is reflected in 2021 collection targets.